A fountain in front of the station in Skierniewice

Skierniewice

The railway arrived at Skierniewice represented by the Warsaw-Vienna Railway in 1845. Interestingly, the first Skierniewice station, in contrast to all stations presented here, did not belong to a railway company. It was administered by Tsarist governors, as it was built on the territory of the Tsar's personal demesne. In the centre of a park, which still exists today, in the Gniezno Archbishops Palace, the Tsar used to stay occasionally with his entourage. Therefore, he ordered building the station nearby, on the outskirts of the park. It was designed in the oriental (Moorish) style by Adam Idzikowski, who introduced numerous arches, turrets and columns and the main decorative elements. In 1861, the engine house was developed, and the tracks were extended.

 

In 1870, the Tsarist administrator terminated the contract for use of the station, thus a new one had to be built. As a consequence, the “old” one became an entirely private, one might say, palace station, functioning occasionally. It was used, for instance, during the famous meeting of three emperors on 14 October 1884. Then history treated it “in the Lenin style”. In the interwar period it housed a school and a kindergarten, and then it was turned into a warehouse. In January 1945, the Russians set fire to it and it burnt.

The Neo-Gothic railway station in Skierniewice was restored in 2003

In 1873, a new station was constructed, 0.25 mile (400 metres) away from the old one. The design in the Neo-Gothic style was made by Jan Heurich, and the construction was implemented by Kazimierz Roguski. One might say it is a two-storey castle with turrets, although it houses ticket offices, a post office, a telegraph, waiting rooms, a restaurant, a lodge and chambers. Sanitary facilities were also built for passengers, but in a separate, smaller Neo-Gothic building. The cobbled approach road was surrounded by acacias trimmed in the shapes of animals, lit at night by gas lanterns. Later the platforms were covered with a beautiful carport, preserved till today. Next to the station houses for servants were built. The great traffic at the station necessitated building a new pumping station in 1880, and extension of tracks.

The celebration of unveiling the statue of Wokulski at the railway station in Skierniewice was preceded by staging of fragments of the Bolesław Prus' "The Doll"

After World War II, in 1954, the internal walls of the station were covered with sgraffito works by Mieszkowscy, depicting the Ursus tractor factory, sickle and hammer motif, harvesting in the fields and working on the Warsaw restoration plan. In 1967, the station was recognised as a valuable historic site, and 13 years later its overhaul commenced, which continued for 23 years.

The celebration of unveiling the statue of Wokulski at the railway station in Skierniewice was preceded by staging of fragments of the Bolesław Prus' "The Doll"

The relationship between the Skierniewice station and the cinema is significant. Władysław Reymont used to come here often; it was also the setting where scenes for The Doll were shot. This episode left a permanent mark. The character in The Doll – Stanisław Wokulski – disembarked at Skierniewice station and, depressed after betrayal by his beloved Isabel, decided to take his own life. In 2010, to comme-morate 165 years of Skierniewice railway junction, a life-size, bronze statue of Wokulski by Robert Sobociński was placed on one of the platforms.

 

Today the station in Skierniewice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country, from an architectural point of view. If we add a museum in the former engine house, where railway enthusiasts take care of unique trains, it will certainly be a place worth visiting and immortalising in photographs.

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© Całość praw autorskich - Antoni Bochen, Filip Wiśniewski